I have a confession to make. I haven’t signed up for a single race next year because I’m completely stumped. This year was the year of the half marathon for me. In two weeks I will have completed ten half marathons during the year. I’m also in the middle of training for the Dopey Challenge in January. This is an awesome accomplishment and I’m super proud of myself but I know that I am no more fit, or healthy, then I was this time last year when I was getting ready to run half number four. In fact I’m probably a lot worse. I eat more sugar and have little to no energy. I know the sugar intake is a big part of the energy loss and I’m on “the road to recovery” but I need to get back in the groove. Luckily I haven’t gained weight yet but if I keep going down my current path it’s inevitable. I’ve had trouble keeping weight off my entire life but things are different now. The past couple of years have thought me to understand my body and recognize the changes I go through. I know, without a doubt, that I’m eating poorly and I can feel exactly what it’s doing to me. I also know that running has given me the strength and determination to nip this trend in the bud. I look at pictures of “Fat Kyle” and I know in my heart that he is gone forever. I might have ups and downs but I WILL NEVER BE THAT WAY AGAIN!
All of this leads to my current predicament. I honeslty don’t know what to focus on next year. I am waffling between two options so I thought I would write my pros and cons for each and then get some input from the running community.
- Go for MM status by completing 3 marathons in 3 months.
Pro: This would be an incredible accomplishment and being a double agent with the Half Fanatics and Marathon Maniacs would be awesome! I would start with Detroit, try and get into Chicago or MCM, and then finish it up during Marathon weekend in Jan 2016. Running either Chicago or MCM would be a dream come true for me and would solidify, at least in my mind, my status as a runner.
Con: It would force me to focus on the long run and take up a ton of time for training. In order to avoid injury I would need to take it very slow and, to be honest, I’m tired of running slowly and worrying about my knee.
- Focus on increasing my overall health by eating better, losing body fat, gaining muscle and targeting shorter distance races. I would still run a couple of Half Marathons but only for fun. My training would focus more on breaking the 30 minute 5K barrier and/or the 1hr 10K barrier.
Pro: Focusing on my health, strength, and short distance speed might allow me to lose weight and perform better if I give MM qualification another try in 2016. I recently read a great article by Lauren Fleshmen called “10 Reasons the 5K is Freaking Awesome”. I’ll let you read the entire article for yourself but the part that really caught my eye was:
“Shorter interval work is more effective than long-distance runs for weight management and gaining fitness. Interval training won’t set you up to run a great marathon, but it will make you a baller at the 5-K, an event that requires strength, speed, power, and endurance combined. By making the 5-K your focus, your training plan will actually line up with what’s best for your overall health. “
Con: I would feel like I’m taking a step back. Most of my races last year were 5K and 10K with a few halfs thrown in towards the end of the year when my long run endurance got better. I worked hard to get to the point that I can run a Half Marathon whenever I feel like it with little or no consequences after the race. I’m worried that I might lose some of that if I no longer focus on the long distances.
I also think that there is a mental thing with me where, for some reason, the 5K feels like a training ground that I have already passed. I know that this is totally on me and is my issue alone. There are many very respectable reasons to run a 5K and many people, like Lauren, that don’t even run the longer races, not because they can’t, but because they choose not to.
So here is where I need your help dear reader. If you were in my position, what would you do? I am really interested to hear your thoughts so please comment below or send me a tweet @tigertowntales